Syrian water wheels (City of Hama, 13th century)

Syrian water wheels (City of Hama, 13th century)

Medieval Syrian water wheels were used to convey water to distant areas.

History

Keywords

Syrian, Hama, water wheel, water lifting device, water supply, Orontes, dam, sluice, blade, channel, river

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Scenes

Water wheels

  • aqueduct - They were gently sloping stone constructions, supported by arches of more levels. The precisely calculated angle of the slope guaranteed the supply of water over long distances.
  • water wheel - They were used to raise water from the river to the channels of the aqueducts.

Directing water flow

  • dam - The water level was controlled by these parts, impounding the river.
  • sluice gate - They controlled the amount of water reaching the wheels.
  • axle
  • canal - They were used to direct water to the wheels.
  • river - The most famous Arab water wheels operated on the Orontes River in Hama.

Water lifting

  • blade - When water from the river hit them, it turned the wheel mounted on the horizontal axle.
  • buckets - As the wheel turned, water flowed into these parts, enclosed by the blades. They were designed so that the water could not spill out while travelling upwards, only when they reached the topmost point of the wheel did the water flow out through the hole into the channels of the aqueduct.
  • canal
  • aqueduct

Animation

Narration

Medieval Islamic science has enriched universal culture through numerous ingenious inventions. These developments and innovations are still regarded with awe.

They include the Syrian wooden water wheel known as the noria, it served to raise water from the river to reservoirs or aqueducts. The most magnificent water wheels were the Norias of Hama, used on the river Orontes.

The water level was controlled by dams which impounded the river.
Sluice gates were used to direct water into artificial canals. This is how the amount of water reaching the wheels was controlled.

There were wooden buckets attached to the outer edge of the wheel. When water from the river hit the blades, its kinetic energy turned the wheel which was mounted on a horizontal axle. As the wheel turned, water flowed into the wooden buckets in the river. The buckets were designed so that the water would not spill out while being conveyed upwards, only when the bucket reached the topmost point of the wheel did the water flow out through the hole into the aqueduct.

The aqueducts were supported by arches at several levels. They were designed with a precisely calculated slope that guaranteed a supply of water over long distances. Thus arid areas, even deserts, had a supply of water for drinking and watering the fields.

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